April 28, 2014

Natives demand Nike "de-chief"

Native Americans Demand Nike “#Dechief”–Stop Selling Grotesque “Chief Wahoo” ProductsEradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a group of Native parents and their allies from across the country are calling on Nike, Inc. to stop selling products that feature the Cleveland Indians’ mascot Chief Wahoo. EONM has launched a Facebook event page “#Dechief Nike Twitterstorm” to trend the Twitter hashtag #Dechief and demand Nike remove the grotesque caricature, Chief Wahoo Nike from its products.

“Dechiefed” hats, jerseys and jackets of Cleveland fans have been featured on social media where photos of team gear with Chief Wahoo removed are posted accompanied by the hashtag #dechiefwahoo.

The groups asks that Nike live up to its dedication to inclusion, “We want it [diversity and inclusion] to drip over everything Nike does!” and follow the Cleveland fans’ lead and “dechief” their own products. It should be noted that even the Cleveland team, itself, has substituted a red letter “C” for Chief Wahoo on its uniforms.

Profiting from Native Mascotry in not being diverse; it is not being inclusive. Selling items, such as a zip-up jacket with the “Chief Wahoo” and the Nike “Swoosh” makes a powerful statement about Nike’s stance, according the leaders of the group.

Native American group asks Nike to stop selling Chief Wahoo gear

By Allan BrettmanThe news release also notes that Nike sells branded merchandise for the Washington, D.C., football team and Florida State University, both of which use Native imagery.

The news release says the group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry “will be holding local protests at the Nike World Headquarters this week in Beaverton, Oregon and conducting a social media campaign to trend the #Dechief hashtag begun by Cleveland Indians fan Dennis Brown."

The release was written by Jacqueline Keeler of Portland, who in April wrote an article in Salon.com, "My life as a Cleveland Indian: The enduring disgrace of racist sports mascots."

Neither Nike nor the Cleveland Indians responded to requests for comment Monday.

Keeler said in a follow-up email Monday morning that the organization has more than 600 members in a Facebook group. She said the group also has received support from the National Congress of American Indians and from Asian American allies at 18 Million Rising and Hyphen magazine.
Comment:  For more on Chief Wahoo, see Chief Wahoo Hurts Bottom Line and 42nd Annual Chief Wahoo Protest.

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